The Apostasy Project

Caspar Melville talks about what the Apostasy Project can do, and what it can’t.

Since we launched our funding drive for the Apostasy Project – our initiative to help those who feel trapped in their faith and want to leave – we’ve received a lot of messages of interest and support. Two hundred people have so far donated, and as of writing we are at just over £4,000, which is 20% of our target of £20,000.

Along the many messages of support and offers of help we we also get messages like this:

I am an ex Muslim living in Kenya. I am in the closet because if I go public I will lose my job, my children, my security and even my life. Would you please advice and assist me.”

They goes on to say that they feel their only option is to look for asylum in a more liberal country, and to ask for our assistance in this.

The Project can’t give assistance with asylum, which is heartbreaking, but true.

That’s one of the things Michael DeDora and I talked about at WiS2. There are so many people who would like to escape theocratic oppression…and it just isn’t possible for CFI or any other non-profit to help all of them emigrate. It’s horribly sad.

But messages like this – and we’ve had many from all over the world – do show how widespread the problem of people being trapped within faith is, and why something like the Apostasy Project is necessary. While there is much we won’t be able to do, we can provide resources, personalised advice and a sense that there are people out there who have gone through the same thing, people who care. We can provide some hope.

So for those who have contacted us asking for specific help with asylum or financial assistance I hope you understand why we can’t do this. But we want you to know that we support you in your plight and that it’s worth persevering.

We still have a long way to go until we can really get going offering this support. We need another £15,000 and though we are in talks to get additional grant funding we won’t succeed without the financial support of concerned individuals. So please donate if you can, and spread the word.

Apostasy solidarity forever.



  1. says

    The Project can’t give assistance with asylum

    We need an organization that can. I wish I were wealthy, because I’d start it myself if I were. But we desperately need an organization that can very well help with asylum… and organization that can do the paperwork, and help as much as possible with the moneys required.

    Not having such an organization isn’t just heartbreaking; it’s wrong. That poor person can’t get the help xi really needs, and I have a major issue with that.

    It’s not the Apostasy Project’s fault, of course. They exist for a purpose and need to fill that purpose and I support them 100% for it.

    But we have to have (and yes, I’m stating it as a directive… even a demand) an organization that can give assistance with asylum.

    Does anyone know how to write up non-profit proposals? Because I would work with anyone to write up such a proposal, and start publicizing to get the funds needed to start it. And I get that it would be an extremely hard task to do, what with all the red tape. That does not make it something that can’t be done, however. It’s needed… desperately.

    So let’s get started on doing it.

  2. AMW says

    NateH – that is an excellent idea, although as I’m currently one of the ‘barely making due’ disappearing middle class here in the US, I don’t have the finances needed 🙁 The only thing I do have is I’m a skilled computer tech (almost 30 yrs experience) – I’ll gladly donate my meager skills to such a project if you/others can find the $. Just keep me in mind – you never know when you’ll need a good network admin…


  3. says

    AMW… if I can get my idea off the ground, a good network admin would be one of my committee members. 😉

    I would like to point out that I wrote a blog post on this, and Sarah Morehead, the Executive Director of Recovering from Religion, responded.

    I must admit that I had no idea that RFR had an asylum program, and that’s amazing. But a Sarah points out, RFR is a small volunteer organization right now and is focusing on the hotline.

    Perhaps my idea can be created under the banner of RFR? I’m going to respond to Sarah on this…

  4. Omar Puhleez says

    From the AP thread:

    “…they feel their only option is to look for asylum in a more liberal country, and to ask for our assistance in this.
    This raises some important, and difficult, questions for the Apostasy Project…”

    It would, and those difficulties can only increase with time. The Islamic world certainly has the capacity to fill the non-Islamic one with refugees.

    Clerics probably feel threatened by apostasy because Islam is a significant if not the entire part of their livelihood. Ordinary Muslims can feel threatened too, because Islam forms a social glue that binds their society and community together. Renouncing it is not simply a matter of dumping a load of worn-out ideas; not as long as God is held to be the father of the whole community, uniting it into one big family.

    Islam claims the allegiance of about 11% of the Kenyan population. While it is a minority religion, and Kenya is not Saudi Arabia, the Islamic clerics can still no doubt make life difficult and dangerous for apostates.

    One course of action is to publicly renounce Islam. (This is best done from afar.) Another is to remain in the community, giving it the support of one’s presence, while slackening off in outward devotion to the faith as far as is possible. (Clerics generally detest this sort of thing, and preach fervently against it.)

    Believing and participation are the means to belonging. But one’s thoughts are always one’s own, and participation can be as strong or as weak as one chooses to make it.

  5. says

    I agree with this so much at the moment. Efforts at the moment are only at a minimum over here in Australian secularism, and yet so many of our geographical neighbours are hell-bent on making life difficult for apostates.


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